Newsletter Archives, click here)
Volume 2 #12 August
This country has gone balmy over the question of testing.
Apparently the “experts” and some non-experts
like George W. Bush, subscribe to the notion that the more
you test kids the more they learn. Consequently many states
have mandated extensive testing in fourth, eighth and tenth
grades, with the results determining whether a student gets
a high school diploma or not.
This is supposed to weed out the “non-performing” schools and inspire
students to do their best. Instead, it has scared many little kids half to death,
increased drop-out rates in older kids, sealed the fate of dyslectic kids, upset
parents, cost an average of 19 hours each year of vital teaching time, encouraged
teachers to cheat on their class scores, and both dulled and dumbed down the
curriculum. An innovative teacher who can really get the kids excited about learning
something is not allowed to introduce anything in the classroom that is not in
the “curriculum frameworks ” however much it may fire up the students
to learn something new.
But it is worse. Would you be really astonished to learn
that the “under
performing schools” turn out to be in poverty areas where class sizes are
enormous, teachers stressed out, supplies used up, textbooks outdated and kids
undernourished? Or that the highest scoring schools are those specialty schools
in affluent suburbs where the kids are expected to go to very selective colleges?
Isn’t that amazing?
You might think that the answer would be to pour money
and resources into the poor schools and get them up to snuff.
But “no child left behind” apparently
only means the ones that were ahead to start with because the federal government
has done nothing to help the financially strapped states, preferring to let them
My beef is, obviously, the damage that is being done to
the hapless dyslexics of this world. Unable to read well
enough to pass the tests, in classes where
the teacher had no idea what to do with them, they are denied a diploma, often
even with superior IQ’s and herculean efforts on their part to make sense
of what they see on a printed page. Or they just drop out and do the best they
can at low-level jobs for which they are intellectually over-qualified, costing
the taxpayers the benefit of their brains at a time when the country can use
all the brain power it can muster.
There actually is a legitimate excuse for certain kinds
of testing, but more of that later. What we have right now
is a disaster.
Years ago when I first started the taped spelling exercises,
I found this trick to be the most helpful of anything I did
and I have been using it ever since. Let’s say the
word is “magnet”. Hold out your left fist and
tell him to say the sounds he hears, one by one. As he says
/m/, you stick up your first finger. When he says /a/ you
stick up your second finger and so on. Holding up one finger
in the right order for each sound is good for everything
that ails him- phonemic awareness, letter sequencing, and
Would you like to receive these newsletters via email on
a monthly basis? If so, enter your email address here:
|Archives (2001 files in .doc format):
|July 2003 - Vol.
2002 - Vol. 1, #10
|June 2003 - Vol.
2002 - Vol. 1, #9
2003 - Vol. 2, #9
2002 - Vol. 1, #8
2003 - Vol. 2, #8
2002 - Vol. 1, #7
2003 - Vol. 2 #7
2002 - Vol. 1, #6
2003 - Vol. 2, #5
2001 - Vol. 1, #5
2002 - Vol. 2, #4
2001 - Vol. 1, #4
2002 - Vol. 2, #3
2001 - Vol. 1, #3
2002 - Vol. 2, #2
2001 - Vol. 1, #2
2002 - Vol. 2, #1
2001 - Vol. 1, #1
2002 - Vol. 1, #11